Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Old Fashioned Service

photo by Mike Roseberry
 The other day I was online with Paypal saying “Shipping” in response to the computer voice asking me “in a couple of words tell me what you are calling about.”  The question was asked and answered four or five times with my voice decibels and frustration rising each time.  I finally started saying “agent” into the phone and after saying that word about twenty times, I was eventually connected to a live person who told me that Paypal was currently experiencing problems with printing shipping labels.  Well, I knew that.  What I didn’t know was when this might be fixed.  She didn’t know

However, this experience got me to thinking about old fashioned service – I mean, even a computer voice could say the word “please” couldn’t it?  But I’m talking about the kind of service that made the world a better place because all customers were served with respect and valued.
The old fashioned gas station came to mind.  An attendant pumped your gas, cleaned your windshield AND checked your oil.  You never had to leave your car.  And, gas was 30 cents a gallon.  Now, with fuel over $4 a gallon (depending on the mood of the oil company) you pump your own gas, and good luck finding a way to clean your windshield.  And checking your oil – well, you’ll need to pay someone to do that if you don’t know how.

Remember that oil crunch of the 1970s when the price of gas doubled in a few weeks?  When the companies figured out they had enough oil in the world, did the price of gas settle back down?  I think not.  What did happen was the automation of the gas station, along with the rise of credit card use.  You can pump your gas.

I remember when I drove into a gas station and someone actually spoke to me – and it wasn’t through a bulletproof glass window.  Some stations used to have soft drink machines outside and maybe a few types of candy at the inside counter.  They didn’t sell stale coffee and hotdogs that looked like they survived Hiroshima.

photo by Mike Roseberry
There was a book published in 1970 called The Pursuit of Loneliness by Philip Slater.  It talks about germ phobia driving people to fear contact.  Add to that the technology of email and texting replacing phone calls.   Mix in TV drug commercials telling us that we can catch anything anywhere, but there’s a new drug for that with side effects including dizziness, sudden belching, leaky bowels, and possible death.

I tell you what – if I could find one of these old, closed-down gas stations, I’d drive into it, park, and spend a few hours just staring at the scenery.

post by Alana Cash

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